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Letters to the Editor

All of us are immigrants

Regarding President Luis Rodriguez’s column last month, “Reflections on 50 years ago,” we are all of us immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Even Native Americans trace their ancestry back to Siberia. So in a sense, the story of America is the story only of immigrants. Thus, I continue to wonder how it is that so many people who proudly trace their ancestry back to the Pilgrims seem to forget that:

1. None of the Pilgrims had a visa or were granted permanent residence by any governmental authority.

2. Most of them were poor, illiterate, uneducated, and most certainly unemployed, at best qualified for manual labor.

3. Felt perfectly at home moving in on those people already living in America.

4. Most certainly did not make any effort to integrate into the dominant North American culture at the time (Mohegan, Mohawk, Cherokee, etc.)

So how is it that most Pilgrim descendants have difficulty with the immigrants to America of the 21st century?

And yes, the American dream and its realization via a like-minded community is what made America free and prosperous. The problem today is that more and more people are living the American nightmare: Failed communities and barrios, failed leadership at all levels, and, most importantly, a cultural failure to remember that all rights must be coupled with paired responsibilities for the system to work.

James Luce
Peralada, Spain